Maui News

Maui Invasive Species Committee Gets Capitol Recognition

April 5, 2012, 8:33 AM HST
* Updated April 6, 5:48 AM
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MISC Field Crew Member during rappelling training that helps them get to weeds in hard to reach places. Courtesy photo.

By Wendy Osher

Members of the Maui Invasive Species Committee were honored during a floor presentation yesterday at the State Capitol.

MISC members were credited for working to guard the county from environmental threats including coqui frogs, pampas grass, veiled chameleons, miconia, and more.

“This is an incredible honor for all of the ISC’s, and I believe reflects on the vision, work, commitment, support, intelligence, and persistence that all of our partners and members of the committee have brought to MISC,” said Manager Teya Penniman.

MISC was established in 1999 and works in partnership with scientists, resource managers, foresters, botanists, wildlife biologists and government representatives to battle invasive species.

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On Maui, there is a Hana-based miconia eradication crew, and an Upcountry headquarters which is focused on tackling 20 different species of invasive plants and animals.

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MISC members joined a representative from the Hawaii Department of Agriculture’s biological control program in receiving the honor during a presentation by Senator Mike Gabbard.

Invasive Species Committee Managers and Dr. Mohsen Ramadan from the Department of Agriculture with Senator Gabbard. From Left to Right: Rachel Neville (OISC), Teya Penniman (MISC), Lori Buchanan (MOMISC), Senator Gabbard, Keren Gundersen (KISC), Dr. Jan Schipper (BIISC), Dr. Mohsen Ramadan (DOA). Courtesy photo.

These programs were selected because of their front-line role in combating invasive threats.

“Mahalo to the dedicated men and women of the Invasive Species Committees for their diligence in preventing, controlling, and eliminating the most threatening invasive plant and animal species to preserve our native biodiversity,” said Sen. Gabbard.  “They work hard to keep Hawaii naturally beautiful as it should be.”

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The HDOA’s biological control program was recognized for its work in finding a natural predator for the Erythrina gall wasp which had devastated Hawaii’s native wiliwili trees in 2005.

Since the biocontrol agent was successfully released in 2008, native wiliwili trees are starting to make a comeback.

***Supporting information courtesy Hawai’i Invasive Species Committee.

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